Created By: Earnest on September 7, 2011 Last Edited By: Earnest on September 17, 2011

Species Survival Person

The existence of an entire species depends on one individual.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Really needs a better name.

The Species Survival Person is something like a Cosmic Keystone to a single species or race of beings. As long as they live, all existing members of that group can live, and new ones can be born or made. Should the Species Survival Person be killed or die, then either a massive attack of No Ontological Inertia will hit and all the group will die, or their ability to procreate will be removed and lead to eventual extinction.

It takes more to be a Species Survival Person than mere knowledge of how to manufacture more Mecha-Mooks or genetically engineer more mutants or Plant People or what-not. To be a Species Survival Person requires that the individual in question's very existence be necessary for the group's survival, though not necessarily that they be able to procreate/build more of the group.

One possibility is that they are a Power Source (or Curse source) for all the group, typically the case with vampires, and removing them makes all the group either revert to human, burst into dust, or shut down. Another possibility is that they are The Maker and/or only one who can procreate.

If evil, they're frequently the Big Bad and killing them will decapitate the Keystone Army. If good (or at least neutral) they represent a high Uniqueness Value for what they can do. The queen of a race of Bee People can often serve this role (provided there are no other queens).

  • In Dance in the Vampire Bund, the Mina Tepesh (descended from that Tepesh) is this for the vampire race. However, as long as a carrier of the pure-blood legacy (un)lives, the species is safe, which comes into play since there is pressure on her to bear an heir.
  • Underworld had this trope invoked by Markus, sire of all vampire kind, who played it as a means to keep both himself safe from underlings and his werewolf brother from being killed.
  • In Lost Boys the head vampire is this to anyone down their bloodline, those who aren't full vampires revert back to humans.
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • September 7, 2011
    PaulA
    Could stand to have some examples, too.
  • September 7, 2011
    3tails
    How about these titles: Living Heart, Heart Of The Species? Sounds kind of like a Hive Queen too as without her the rest of the hive will scatter and/or die.
  • September 8, 2011
    Koveras
    Aren't the Dragon Aspects from the Warcraft lore this to their respective dragon clans?
  • September 16, 2011
    Earnest
    ^^ Heart Of The Species might work.

    • In Reign Of Fire the dragon species only has one male per generation, and the protagonists must kill him before mating season to save (what's left) of civilization.
  • September 16, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    I have yet another vampiric example: Dracula in VanHelsing. It gets lampshaded in the dialogue.
  • September 17, 2011
    Arutema
    • At the end of Season 4 of Battlestar Galactica, Hera Agathon is the Cylon's only hope of avoiding extinction, as the remainder of the Cylons are sterile.
  • September 17, 2011
    Koveras
    The current title and laconic makes me think of a Mac Guffin Girl/Boy/Person who is a living cure for a pandemic out to wipe out humanity or some such. Come think of it, we also need a trope like that (examples: John Connor from Terminator, that boy Violet protects in Ultraviolet, etc.).
  • September 17, 2011
    MorganWick
  • September 17, 2011
    shimmeringmoonlight18
    This makes me think of Samus Aran from Metroid. The entire Chozo race depends on her for their survival, because all of the Chozo died out. This makes her the last living Chozo, because she has their blood in her veins.
  • September 17, 2011
    SharleeD
    Most of the examples seem to be chief villains or monsters. How about "Species-Carrying Boss", as a twist on the existing "Load-Bearing Boss" trope?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=5ptwb0i51c8c0bxmrqkrgv7z